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Separating voice and data systems could benefit continuity efforts

Separating VoIP from data networks might be important for supporting both during  a disaster.
Separating VoIP from data networks might be important for supporting both during a disaster.

IT is often one of the most important factors in business continuity planning, and as companies seek to optimize their technology in day-to-day operations, they also need to consider the best way to protect these systems during a disaster. Sometimes, the two efforts don't align, requiring some careful considerations regarding which is more important – continuity of operations or workflow efficiency.

While businesses don't always have to sacrifice one for the other, making small concessions here and there can help to ensure that their disaster recovery planning is optimized for any contingency. For many firms, this may mean separating IT systems, rather than consolidating them.

More companies are combining their IT platforms for maximum efficiency, particularly voice and data systems. This is very often done to support mobility strategies and the integration of BYOD, but as these efforts move forward, they can present complications for recovery and continuity of operations planning.

According to Continuity Central, businesses that combine their voice and data systems may find that, once a disaster strikes, they are no longer able to support the bandwidth demands of both at once. This causes network congestion and bottlenecks that will stunt operations during recovery and the recovery efforts themselves. As such, companies should consider keeping these platforms separate, rather than consolidating them.

"When it comes to voice communications, VoIP systems have long been touted as a cost-effective and user-friendly way of making voice calls which are perfectly suited to running over powerful WiFi systems," the news source noted. "However, the downside to using VoIP is the bandwidth resources it demands to carry voice over a network. While it uses an existing asset, upgrading a WiFi network for voice is not inexpensive."

In turn, businesses can advance their mobility strategies by investing in a private mobile network instead. Businesses can invest in a private GSM network for their employee's voice needs, rather than bringing devices onto their data networks. This changes the network infrastructure dynamic yet still delivers the benefits of enterprise mobility in everyday operations without putting disaster recovery at risk.

Mobile devices can play an important role in supporting operational needs as companies develop their business continuity plan, but companies need to ensure they don't complicate matters at the same time. Hiring business continuity consultants to help align workflows with a firm's tools ensures that investments don't create more problems than they solve.